AT&T Loses First Verizon Ad Battle

AT&T has lost the first battle in its fight against Verizon's anti-ATT-network ads. The company has sued Verizon, saying the maps and statements made in the latest Verizon ads confuse consumers.

At issue in the lawsuit, the maps (above) compare Verizon and AT&T 3G coverage. AT&T says that the maps are interpreted by many as indicating that AT&T has not coverage in those areas not marked blue in their map. Instead they simply indicate a lack of 3G coverage.

It's clear that Verizon has the advantage in terms of 3G coverage in the U.S., though their CDMA technology has plenty of minuses. At least, however, they don't drop 30 percent of their calls.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten Sr. refused to serve Verizon with an injunction against showing the ads. He said that people might “misunderstand” the commercials, “but that doesn’t mean they’re misleading.” At the same time, he noted that most people, when watching TV, aren't all that attentive anyway. “Most people who are watching TV are semi-catatonic. They’re not fully alive.”

Of course, he didn't list another reason to forego the injunction: as more people buy DVRs, they aren't watching commercials anyway.  Battle lost by AT&T, but the war goes on.
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